Monday, May 23, 2005

Done Been Spotted

Thanks to Meaders, here's my chance to be just like all the cool kids and do the Black Spot Mambo. Though I honestly can't imagine what possessed him to call me 'aggressive'. Sheesh.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Here's where I have to confess that I never actually read F451, then feebly try to mitigate the shame by saying that it was only the lower-level English class that had to. Did that work?

Um, moving on. It's been helpfully explained to me that this question must refer to the dissidents in the book who vow allegiance to a single book and memorize it, as a kind of expression of their soul with added saving-civilization bonus. OK, so basically what's My Big Book of Me. Jesus I hate these questions. I was just this morning explaining to my (male, geek, ergo list-loving) lover that no, 'Buffy' is not my favorite TV drama franchise ever, but that's not because 'Babylon 5' is. It's because I can't do favorites; the thought of having to commit myself to just one anything makes me lightheaded with anxiety. One book to memorize and save from the flames because it's the expression of my individual identity? Fuck me.

OK look, let's just hedge it round with a thousand caveats, say this can't possibly be The One The Only Book of Me because naturally I'm far too complex and interesting to be so parsed, and call it Complications by Atul Gawande, which was an important influence in my decision to go back and become a doctor at my advanced age. Now will you people stop hounding me?

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Lordy yes. Untold. There was the wholly regrettable but sociologically inevitable teenaged passion for Lestat, the infinitely more regrettable twenty-something Mr. Darcy fancy (mitigated probably not at all by the fact of having been seduced by Colin Firth as same before reading the book), the not-suitable-for-prime-time fantasies about both Uther Doul and the Brucolac (yeah, simultaneously, call me a whore) in China MiƩville's The Scar. I think I've shared just about enough on this one, don't you?

The last book you bought is:
Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving The 20th Century, by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday. I haven't finished it yet even though it's all of like 50 pages of comics, for fuck's sake, because it's been so long since I read Vols. 1 and 2 that I can't remember any of the plotlines. Mind like a steel colander, I've got.

The last book you read:
The Book of the Long Sun, by Gene Wolfe. In a just universe, Gene Wolfe would be taking baths in tubs filled with Nobel Prizes for Literature, whilst sipping fruity umbrella drinks brought to him on trays by a rag-loinclothed, thrice-daily-flogged John Updike on his knees. Damn, sharing too much again, huh?

Wolfe the man, sadly, is a terribly rightwing Catholic, which does occasionally show through in the politics of the work. But my good god the man can write. His prose is absolutely fucking luminous, his plots intricate, sprawling, subtle to the point of mockery. Man is an overlooked genius. Shame on literary fiction and its self-regarding pimps.

What are you currently reading?
The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx, by Alex Callinicos. Having finally come round to admitting I'm a socialist, now I have to do my homework and figure out if I'm in fact a full-on honest-to-god barricades-personning trot. But hey, am I daunted? Uh, yeah. A bit. There's anawful lot to read, and I don't know if you know this, but a fair old bit of it is economics. So I'm starting with the synthetic stuff and working my way back. Callinicos is wonderful, extremely lucid and engaging.
The Gun & the Olive Branch, by David Hirst.
Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948, by Tanya Reinhart.
Planetary Vol. 3, vide supra.
And about 20 other books that I have bookmarks in but haven't picked up in the last, say, month. Bit of a focus problem.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
Eeh, here we are back with the picking and the lists. This is not in any particular order, now, so don't go thinking you've sussed out my actual favorite behind my back. The single-volume collected Bone, by Jeff Smith. No more lovely and comforting and thoroughly delightful comic ever. To stave off loneliness, see. Capital, on the premise that I'd certainly have the motivation to get through it, and as Meaders points it, you get some bang for your single-book buck. Jubilate Agno, by Christopher Smart; it's always a good time for inspired Christian-mystic nutter poetry, and nothing more derangedly stunning than the section on 'my Cat Jeoffry'. A collection of Gerard Manly Hopkins, for similar reasons. The Scar, by China MiƩville.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Given how recently I started this whole blogging gambit, I don't doubt that everyone I read has long since done this dance and I just didn't catch it. So I'll just pass blithely and hope for the best. eRobin at Fact-esque, who I think I may have won over to my side, and who hates She Who Must Be Flayed almost as much as I do. Knotted Knickers, who's fucked off about lots of the same things I am. And, um, that's it. I'm not doing a third, and you can't make me.

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